Do, don't and why !!
No, it isn’t easy, it just isn’t, not for me atleast, and I’m not even talking about my weird upbringing or my flawed social skills or even my still lingering traces of an inferiority complex. It just isn’t easy for me to accept an award. Strangely though, when I see others getting awards or giving their acceptance speeches I can completely relate to their happiness, I fully relate to the acceptance one feels through the symbolic process of receiving an award. However when it comes to myself……… its an out of body experience, it’s a gargantual sense of, “oh my f*****g GOD !! are the judges serious??? Me?? Really??” No offence to the judges, really, that’s simply my reaction.
I’ve received three awards so far, and each time while accepting them, I have for some reason or the other bungled up my acceptance speeches. Hence, from personal experience (including the recent META Awards) and from a careful study of other’s speeches I have come up with these basic do’s & don’ts that one should carefully follow, during the brief course of an award acceptance.
1) Do:- smile while looking at the person who is presenting you the award, a soft handshake is also encouraged. After all, it is an honor for him/her as well to be presenting the award to someone who is so deserving.
Don’t:- yank your award from the presenters grasp, he/she has no intention of stealing it. Oh! And if you do want to say something kind to them, keep it brief. Do ‘not’ go into long thank you’s and “oh, I’m such a big fan” conversations, he/she probably had nothing to do with you winning. And also, this just wastes precious ceremony time, the nominees for the other categories will fling stuff at you.
2) Do :- have a positive approach to any awards ceremony. As humble as the “oh I’m shit, I probably won’t win” thinking is, there is always a fluke chance that you ‘might’ win. In which case, a controlled polite speech always makes the crowd smile and makes them readily agree that you are a deserving winner, no matter what your co-nominees back-bite about you.
Don’t:- throw yourself in front of the mike and vomit out whatever comes into your head. This approach will ‘only’ make history for all the wrong reasons. Either you will use one word multiple times in your speech, eg:- “oh man, this is awkward. I wasn’t expecting to win but, now I just feel awkward. I’ve not even shaved I feel so awkward. Hmm, my award looks more bent than the last one, that’s awkward” ; or, the shock of winning will murder your brain cells leaving you with mostly ‘umm’, ‘aahh’, ‘err’, “cough” !! , ‘shit ! thank you’. Oh , and the last thing you need is stuff that you would never dream of saying even to ‘yourself’ flying out of your mouth. The audience will mentally trace your lineage back to a village tailor, your friends and family will block you on Facebook, and the jury who gave your sorry ass the award will make sure that you NEVER win it again. Oh and also, if you have loaded your system with alcohol before you stepped onto stage (because you believe in the “oh I’m shit, I probably won’t win” anthem) , take it from me, the above problem gets worse, and whatever happens will haunt you and make you go ‘la-la-la-la’ forever!!
3) Do:- thank your parents, your friends, and all those who have helped you win the award, in your speech. It shows that you are human, it makes people go ‘awww’ , and it is traditionally the safest thing to do.
Don’t:- ‘overdo’ the above. Thanking friends and family is fine, but a group of 400+ strangers have no interest in hearing things like. . . . . “when I was 8, my mother was making me a chutney sandwich and she cut herself. She yelled so loud, ‘that’s’ the day I decided that I wanted to become a sound designer”. Or, “ my father / sister / driver / boyfriend / whatever is “SUCH” a big push in my life. I’d be ‘NOwhere’ without them”. Or “my dog ‘chetak’ died only yesterday, and he would’ve been so happy seeing me receive this award today”. Oh !! and if you start crying while spouting such poetry, I warn you it only adds to the urge of your co-nominees to creep into your room at night and stab you with your own award.
4) Do:- dress up well for the awards ceremony. It will encourage people to think nice things about you, it will give you that extra confidence you’ll need for your speech, and it will generally leave happy photographic memories which you can share with your kids in the future (without fear)
Don’t:- dress like you just woke up 5 minutes ago and just threw whatever was lying on the bottom of your wardrobe onto yourself (including your grandma’s yellow socks). A huge cry out to women here, atleast ‘some’ women, who’s dressing sense range from confused, to weird to downright kinky !! Its an ‘award ceremonies’ ladies, not a roman after-party !!!
5) Do:- look straight ahead at the audience during your speech. Eye contact isn’t important but the audience should get a sense that you are talking to ‘them’, they are after all sitting there to see you and share your happiness with you.
Don’t:- direct your speech to the sky, or your chest, or a fly on your shoulder. It is an instant giveaway that you are nervous to the bone. Try ‘really’ hard to just look straight, even if it means you have to keep staring at the cougar in the front row, DO IT !!! but look ‘forward’. Oh, and for God’s sake, imagining that the audience is naked helps in NO bloody way. I don’t know which jerk came up with this so called remedy, but I’ve tried it once myself and it only made things worse. If those people are naked, but still sitting there and looking at you as if everything is normal, then how does it help ??? eventually you’re the one who’s going to feel awkward because you’re the only one who’s clothed right. Strict no-no!!
So there you go, follow these guidelines and you will never go wrong on any podium. Oh, and if you have any further issues like sweaty palms and dry tongue or even increased blood pressure while accepting an award, then please consult your ‘doctor’ ok. Sheesh! Do you really expect me to solve ‘all’ your problems???